By Nkosana Dlamini
Nelson Chamisa’s Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is up in arms with ZEC over a slew of alleged poll ambush tactics chief among them the strange transfer of a polling station from its traditional site at a Kwekwe business centre to a “bush”.
Addressing the press in Harare this Friday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s parliamentary and council by-elections in parts of the country, CCC deputy secretary for elections, Ellen Shiriyedenga also revealed that some party agents especially in Marondera East and Murehwa South in volatile Mashonaland East province have been forced to pull out following intimidation by alleged Zanu PF militant supporters.
She accused ZEC of going behind their backs to instal far-reaching decisions that were against the spirit of the multi-party liaison initiatives and also did not favour fair balloting.
The CCC top official cited intimidation against party election agents, vote buying, irregularities in the voter’s roll as well as the printing of some ballot papers with blurred images of party candidates.
Shiriyedenga zeroed in on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s former constituency – Kwekwe Central – where a polling station has surreptitiously been shunted from a convenient spot in a business centre to a “bushy” area.
“…In Kwekwe for example, we have a polling station that has always been at a shopping centre but for some reason, it has been moved to a bushy area but are there people that reside in bushes!” she said.
“And we all know how volatile Kwekwe is.
“Even the Electoral Act is clear when it comes to the location of polling stations to say that the polling station should not be located at a place that causes apprehension among voters.
“And you know the volatility of Kwekwe Central and then you go on to set a polling station somewhere where people cannot access and where there is a lot of risk and fear.
“We are demanding as the Triple C that that polling station should be removed.”
The CCC Kwekwe support base is currently reeling from the loss of a party loyalist who was recently murdered in broad daylight by persons linked to Zanu PF.
The incident happened during a star rally address by Chamisa.
Shiriyedenga also accused ZEC of illegally moving some voters away from their constituencies to places from which they have never voted before.
“Some people were even moved from their own constituencies to other constituencies and remember we are operating under delimitation boundaries that were set in 2008. So, what it means is that ZEC has gone beyond those boundaries,” she said.
“Polling stations were moved without consultation with the political parties contesting.”
CCC vowed to challenge ZEC for the alleged irregularities lest they recur to the detriment of the 2023 harmonised elections in which the opposition outfit is targeting an unprecedented opposition two thirds majority over and above upstaging arch-rival Zanu PF to the much-coveted presidency.